Gloria S. Ross

Gloria S. Ross is the head of Okara Communications and AfterWords, an obituary-writing and design service.

Eric Nuetzel
Courtesy, St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute

Eric Nuetzel, M.D., didn’t merely enjoy good stage and screen performances, he dissected them. He plumbed the depths of such Shakespearean classics as Othello and Macbeth, as well as timeless movies like It’s A Wonderful Life and Raging Bull, to find their meaning and relevance to the human condition.

Dr. Nuetzel, who eagerly shared his astute analyses with audiences and students, taught simultaneously in the Department of Psychiatry and the Performing Arts Department at Washington University.

State Archives

When Joseph Teasdale ran for governor in the mid-70s, he walked a thousand miles en route to winning the tightest gubernatorial race in the nation, handing a popular incumbent governor a stunning defeat. His margin of victory over Missouri Republican Gov. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, by whom he had been defeated in the previous election, was a mere 12,000 votes out of more than 1.9 million cast. Even members of the Teasdale campaign cabinet were stunned.

/ Photo provided by Kalish family

By day, Ralph Kalish was a well-respected, successful patent attorney. By night, he was, well, he was anything — anyone — he wanted to be: restaurateur, playwright, actor.

In 2011, he became Branch Rickey, the former, longtime St. Louis Cardinals Baseball manager who changed the game forever by bringing Jackie Robinson into the formerly all-white major leagues.

/ Photo provided by Streiff family

Ralph V. Streiff, who was onboard at homegrown Nooter Corp. as the former boiler works company moved into building custom apparatus that helped stamp out polio and put men on the moon, died Sunday. He was 86.

Fresh out of Washington University School of Engineering in 1951, Mr. Streiff joined Nooter as a sales engineer. Forty years later, he retired as president and chairman of the company, which had become one of the largest metal fabricators in the world during his tenure.

campaign photo

During the late 1950s, Rory Ellinger, a high school student at Bishop Du Bourg, had a job as a checker at Kroger’s. During a lunch break, he became transfixed by people picketing the nearby Woolworth’s over dining practices.

“Blacks could only order food to go out,” he recalled in the 1999 book, A Generation Divided. “If you were black, you came in and they served you in a bag and you had to leave.”

He joined the NAACP picket line. It was the prelude to a life defined by the civil rights movement.

Murray Weidenbaum
Washington University

Murray Weidenbaum, an influential scholar widely known as the key architect of President Ronald Reagan’s economic theory dubbed “Reaganomics,” has died.

In 1980, Reagan campaigned on a fix for an economy plagued by rising inflation, unemployment and a growing deficit. He appointed Mr. Weidenbaum as his economic adviser.

Rodney Michael Coe
Provided by Saint Louis University

Rodney Coe, a sociologist who led Saint Louis University’s Department of Family and Community Medicine for a decade, wanted medical students to be more than healers with a great bedside manner. He wanted them to know and understand the communities they would be serving. A medical school program that bears his name made his hope a reality.

“He was very proud of that,” said his wife, Elaine Coe.

Facebook | used with family permission

The first weathercaster for KSD Channel 5, the first television station in St. Louis, quickly abandoned the job in favor of sales. Howard DeMere replaced him. It was 1949, and Mr. DeMere stayed on for most of the next 30 years, becoming one of the most familiar and celebrated personalities in St. Louis television history.

Mr. DeMere marveled at television, a medium that did not exist when he was born.

“(TV) turned civilization upside down,” Mr. DeMere wrote in a recent blog post, “a new art form, new language, different commerce and a much laxer moral code.”

Norman S. London
Provided by the family

Norm London, as he was wont to introduce himself, was a criminal attorney who represented the powerful and the powerless with equal vigor. For 40 years, he defended some of the area’s most famous and infamous citizens before taking his formidable reputation to the federal Public Defender’s Office in St. Louis.

“The legal representation in our office is on par with anything you could go out and buy,” said Lee T. Lawless, who succeeded Mr. London as federal defender. “His name being associated with this office got that message across.”

Undated Family Photo

In 1983, James DeClue beat James DeClue for the position of president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. James F. DeClue, a Baptist minister and corporate executive, led the city NAACP for much of the 1980s, despite a serious challenge from his cousin, the late Dr. James A. DeClue. The Rev. DeClue died last week at the age of 86.

Dr. Frank O. Richards
Wiley Price

Dr. Frank Richards, who built a reputation as one of the most proficient surgeons ever to don a mask because of his ability to operate with one hand while holding instruments in the other, died Thursday.

“No one could do that but Frank,” said Will Ross, M.D., associate dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. “When he was assistant director of Homer G. Phillips Hospital, he really had to move patients in and out; it was a high-volume operation.”

Ed Harper, USMC Colonel Ret.
Family Photo

Col. Edwin A. Harper (USMC, Retired), the next to last survivor of the fabled World War II “Black Sheep Squadron” and later the commander of a squadron of fighter pilots poised to strike during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, has died at his home in Lake Saint Louis. He was 93.

Col. Harper’s life was the stuff of which movies are made, or at least TV shows. The Black Sheep Squadron was immortalized by the highly fictionalized 1970s television series, Baa Baa Black Sheep. Col. Harper was not bothered that the raucous series strayed so far from the facts.

Family photo

People who attend the Tivoli Theatre, the majestic edifice that has graced the University City Loop since 1924, expect certain things. They expect nostalgic surroundings. They expect to see movies with purpose. They expect to be greeted by John Thompson.

For the past 35 years, Mr. Thompson did not disappoint. He died Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. He was 74.

“It will be very sad the first time we walk through the doors (of the Tivoli) and John’s not there,” said Cliff Froehlich, executive director of Cinema St. Louis. “His absence will be very seriously felt.”

Robert H. Quenon
Provided | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

Robert H. Quenon wanted to become a coal mining manager like his father and his father’s three brothers.

“I was counseled by them that if management was my objective, I should get as much practical experience as possible by working underground and learning the fundamentals of how coal is mined and how coal miners think and behave,” Mr. Quenon told a college audience as he neared retirement.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - The Rev. Ben Martin was against the war in Iraq, both of them, torture, the death penalty and any policy that made life more difficult for everyday people. Without hesitation and unstintingly, for more than six decades, he raised his voice for social and racial justice.

Andrew Thompson
St. Louis Symphony

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: During rehearsal Wednesday morning, many in the St. Louis Symphony orchestra played the first measures of Tchaikovsky through tears. The tears had begun earlier during a long moment of silence for a young orchestra member, Andrew Thompson, who died suddenly the day before.

“We just lost a member of our family,” said Symphony violist Susan Gordon.

Pelagie Green Wren
Provided by the family

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When 19-year-old Pelagie Green kicked up her heels in the Muny chorus during the 1962 season, she was the first African American to do so.

Her history-making debut came nearly 50 years after trees and shrubs had been cleared between the giant oak trees in Forest Park for the performance of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Dr. Helen Nash
Washington University

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dr. Helen Nash, the first African-American physician on staff at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, was as well known for her outspoken advocacy on behalf of children as for her practice of medicine. She died Thursday at her home in Creve Coeur. She was 91.

"She was very staunch in her commitment to doing what was right, particularly for underserved children," said Dr. Michael R. Debaun, one of Dr. Nash’s former patients. "She did what was right even when others were bashful or reluctant."

The Very Rev. J.C. Michael Allen
Christ Church Cathedral

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Very Rev. J.C. Michael Allen, who led the racially diverse, boisterous and often controversial Christ Church Cathedral Episcopal Church for more than two decades, died yesterday.

At the cathedral, Dean Allen started a shelter for the homeless, opened a child care center for children of the working poor and boldly proclaimed his support of abortion, gay rights and care for people with AIDS.

Dr. Bernard Becker
Provided by Washington University

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bernard Becker, M.D., a world renowned ophthalmologist who fought anti-Semitism as a student and, as a professional, refused to work in a hospital that would not provide care to African-American patients, died Wednesday (Aug. 28), at his home in the Central West End. He was 93.

Jim Mattingly and his wife, Cheryl
Family photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Jim Mattingly, a well-known name in St. Louis outdoor soccer who was even better known as the longtime owner of Mattingly’s, a popular St. Louis County sports bar, died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack at his home in St. Charles Sunday morning (Aug. 25). He was 64.

Bob Reuter
Bill Streeter | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Bob Reuter wore his crown as the unofficial “King of South St. Louis” slightly askew. He wrote, performed and lived like a man possessed, probably because he was at times. He readily confessed to lapses of “debauchery” that included drinking, heavy drugs and sometimes contemplating suicide.

Virginia Johnson Masters
Martin Schweig photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon Mary Virginia Masters, known from her work as Virginia E. Johnson, spent 35 years as half of a sex research team that was internationally lauded and sometimes castigated for exposing bedroom secrets while reassuring people that sex is normal and that their sex lives could get better through therapy. Ms. Masters died Wednesday (July 24, 2013). She was 88.

Rosemary Ward Wellington
St. Joseph's Academy Alumnae Association

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rosemary Ward Wellington, who was born at a time when it was widely accepted that women were too fragile for strenuous exercise, defied convention and played, taught or coached every sport offered at St. Joseph’s Academy for girls.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Betty Robinson enlisted in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty nine years after the war began in 1964. She remained a foot soldier for nearly 40 years. Her battles were fought on behalf of children through the Head Start program.

Gussie Feehan in 2012
Episcopal Mission Gala photo

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gussie Feehan’s death at age 106 last week caught everyone by surprise.

Elliot Elson
Gloria Ross | For the St. Louis Beacon |2013

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Part of Elliot Elson’s current research has led to the creation of artificial heart tissue that can beat on its own. Tiny pieces thump, thump, thump in petri dishes. The engineered muscles permit scientists to study the possible causes, effects and treatments of heart attacks and hypertension.

Sunny Glassberg
Provided by the family

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Sunny Glassberg, whose generosity buttressed many of St. Louis’ proudest educational, civic and cultural institutions, and who gave hundreds of single mothers and older adults a chance at a college degree, humbly and delightedly accepted the title of "the Turtle Lady."

She was so-nicknamed for "a little gem; that wonderfully whimsical Turtle Park," said Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Patricia and Fredrick McKissack
Wiley Price

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Col. Hardenbergh noted the birth of another slave with the same indifference he might have shown a calf or lamb.

The line from Sojourner Truth: Ain’t I a Woman, the fictionalized account of the life of a freed slave who became an abolitionist, embodies the crisp, enthralling style of Patricia McKissack and her husband, Fredrick McKissack.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Richard Stith's mother gave away his clothes while he was flying unarmed transport planes during World War II because she never expected to see him alive again. When he died Sunday (Feb. 10, 2013) of lung cancer, he was 93.

After returning from the war a decorated pilot, he became a successful insurance executive, served two terms as mayor of Clayton and helped found the Independence Center, a place where mentally ill adults learn self-sufficiency. The center, like the legion of civic and charitable organizations he led, benefited from his prominence in the community.